For the first time in three years, the CJ Smuin Memorial Scholarship went to two deserving baseball players. Ridge Nelson and Wyatt Falk were presented with the honor on Thursday evening.
“I’ve said this all three years, but this year was truly an impossible decision,” said Nicole Smuin, CJ’s mother and one of the founders of the scholarship. “I may be slightly biased because we have watched these boys on and off the field most of their lives, but this year’s candidates were top-notch.”
Seven candidates were eligible for the scholarship, which is awarded annually to a graduating Carbon High baseball player. Smuin credited the candidates as good students as well as a respectful, hardworking and all-around great young men.
“After many discussions with our board and coaches, we decided there was no way to narrow it down to just one,” Smuin shared. “So, this is the first, and probably last year, we will award two scholarships.”
Nelson and Falk each received a $1,500 scholarship, a bronze trophy by Original Creations and their name on the plaque to be hung in the new Grand Canyon hallway at Carbon High.
The two young athletes both had impressive senior campaigns, helping the team to a region championship and a third-place finish at state. Nelson led the 3A classification with 45 RBIs to go along with six home runs and a .494 batting average.
Meanwhile, Falk led the state with nine wins pitching and was fourth in the state with 90 strikeouts. Offensively, he helped lead the 3A classification with 35 RBIs. Falk also had a no-hitter and a one-hitter during the state playoffs.
“We are so proud of you and your hard work this year,” Smuin concluded. “We know you will represent this award well. Congratulations on a great season.”